Smalls is one big sustainer
September 6, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Maj. Gen. Robert Smalls, an Army logistic support vessel operating here, is the busiest it has ever been since arriving one year ago. It recently returned from a multi-week sail in the region to deliver and pickup cargo. The Smalls is one of only a handful of Army logistics vessels called "LSVs" operating in the region, and is a crucial part of the 113th Sustainment Brigade's multi-modal transportation plan to move equipment and resources throughout Central Command's area of operations by sea, ground and air.
"We are away from port and on the seas, and that's the way we like it," said Small's captain Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Hanten. The crew of the Smalls is the 548th Transportation Detachment from Hawaii and has just begun their deployment here. The vessel sailed here last year from Baltimore, Md., its home port, and has made port calls across the Mediterranean, Red, and Arabian Seas, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.
The Smalls is over 300 foot long and has the ability to transport all types of military and civilian cargo, such as; vehicles, large containers and various types of equipment. Under certain conditions, the boat can maneuver close enough to a beach or dock ramp to discharge its cargo, technique called "roll on roll off.". On its most recent voyage the Smalls was welcomed at its destination by U.S. Army divers from Kuwait Naval Base.
The divers had come to inspect the destination port and ensure it was safe for the Smalls to enter and dock at. The Army divers are members of the 569th Engineer Detachment (Dive) based in Fort Eustis, Va., and have also recently deployed here. These veteran divers are kept busy supporting the 113th Sustainment Brigade's vessel operations as well as other dive support missions for units in Kuwait and have participated in joint multinational exercises throughout Kuwait and the gulf.
They are highly skilled underwater experts and can accomplish an assortment of tasks such as; port security, underwater salvage, search and recovery as well as underwater photography and surveying. The dive team is comprised of veteran divers who have previous Iraqi Freedom combat tours and humanitarian disaster relief experience in Haiti after a devastating earthquake struck the island in early 2010. "This is what we came to Kuwait to do," said Staff Sgt. Micah Sherrod, one of the senior divers in the detachment. "There are many potential unseen dangers below the water line. Our job is to find them and clear them so that our ships can safely berth and conduct their operations," Sherrod concluded. The divers completed their tasks well before the Smalls entered the harbor and began its final maneuvers toward the dock.
"It's comforting to know that they [Army divers] are here before we arrive and that the harbor has been inspected for any possible threats natural or man-made," said Hanten.
The 569th Army Divers and the 113th Sustainment Brigade's logistics support vessels like the Maj. Gen. Smalls will continue to work together for months to come in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and other CENTCOM sustainment operations throughout the region. Sail Army!